Athletes Who Contracted Coronavirus

As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak became a global pandemic that impacted entire industries, the sports world discovered it wasn't immune. On March 12, 2020, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was the first professional league to take action when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the monumental move to temporarily suspend the season.

The rest of the professional and collegiate leagues quickly followed suit: the NCAA canceled the 2020 Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments; Major League Baseball (MLB) announced its season would start eight weeks late; the National Hockey League (NHL) pressed "pause;" the Professional Golf Association (PGA) canceled the remainder of the Players Championship and the postponed the upcoming 2020 Masters tournament; and Major League Soccer (MLS) suspended its season for 30 days. If that wasn't enough, 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers are "seriously worried" about the virus and are mulling over whether or not to cancel the summer Olympic games entirely (via AP).

However, these measures still haven't stopped the spread of COVID-19 within these organizations. So while America's sports are social distancing from your televisions, let's find out which athletes have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Rudy Gobert: the first known NBA player to get COVID-19

On March 9, 2020, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert poked fun at the coronavirus by touching all the microphones his teammates would have to use after speaking to reporters following a team practice. Two days later, he tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first NBA player to be diagnosed with the virus (via The Washington Post). Almost immediately, the NBA suspended the season "until further notice."

A day after his diagnosis, Gobert took to Instagram to share his "fear" of contracting the virus and his "embarrassment" for his actions. "The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered," he wrote in part. "At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously." Gobert added that his experience should be used as an example to help "educate others and prevent the spread of this virus."

For its part, the Utah Jazz organization is reportedly not happy with their young star, who has since "pledged $500,000 to employee-related relief efforts" related to the outbreak (per The Washington Post). "The Jazz are fortunate that they don't have to get back together and start playing games again right now," ESPN's Adam Wojnarowski reported. "There is a lot of work to do to repair relationships ... there's a lot of frustration with Gobert."

Gobert teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive

ESPN revealed on March 12, 2020, that Rudy Gobert's teammate, Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell, had also tested positive for the coronavirus. "Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN," the network's Senior NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted. "Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive."

Mitchell confirmed his diagnosis on Instagram, thanking his well-wishers and taking what appeared to be a shot at Gobert. "Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test," he wrote in part. "We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully, people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them."

Two days later, the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest winner posted a video to social media, letting fans know that he was "[feeling] fine" and passing his time in isolation by playing video games. "Just want to say thank you guys so much for your continued support, man. It means a lot to me," Mitchell said, adding, "I can't wait to get back on the floor and play for the best fans in the world."

Christian Wood was diagnosed after playing against Rudy Gobert

"A player on the Detroit Pistons, who is under the care of team medical staff and in self-isolation since Wednesday night, was tested for COVID-19," the NBA's Detroit Pistons said in a statement on March 15, 2020. "A preliminary positive result came back on March 14. The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation is paramount."

The organization didn't identify the player, but The Athletic's Shams Charania broke the news on Twitter. "Detroit Pistons' Christian Wood has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Wood had 30 and 11 rebounds against Rudy Gobert on Saturday night before a career-high 32 on Wednesday. Sources say Wood has shown no symptoms and is doing well."

Wood's diagnosis makes him the third NBA player to contract the coronavirus and the first who is not a member of the Utah Jazz. At the time of this writing, Wood has yet to comment publicly.

Kevin Durant and three teammates tested positive for coronavirus

On March 17, 2020, the Brooklyn Nets announced that four of their players, including superstar Kevin Durant, tested positive for the coronavirus — bringing the number of NBA players infected with the virus to seven. In a statement posted to NBA's official site, the team said "one player is exhibiting symptoms while three are asymptomatic." All four players are in isolation "and under the care of team physicians."

"The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best possible care," the team said.

The team did not release the names of the players, but Durant confirmed his diagnosis to The Athletic's Shams Charania. "Durant says he is feeling fine," Charania tweeted, before quoting the NBA star as saying, "Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We're going to get through this."

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was the first NFL-connected coronavirus case

On March 19, 2020, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton revealed to ESPN that he tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first person in the NFL to receive the diagnosis. "This is not just about social distancing," Payton told the publication. "It's shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it."

He then asked the public to "take a minute to understand what the experts are saying" and calling the act of social distancing a "small investment" that could drastically limit the spread of the virus. "I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I'm lucky," he continued. "Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can't handle it. So we all need to do our part. It's important for every one of us to do our part."

The Super Bowl-winning coach also posted a message to Twitter to update his fans. "Appreciate the well wishes," he wrote, accompanying a selfie inside his home. "I'm feeling better and fortunate to not have any of the respiratory symptoms. 4 more days at home. #BEATCovid"

Marcus Smart tested positive for COVID-19 with no symptoms

On March 19, 2020, Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart revealed he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a video posted to his official Twitter account. "I was tested 5 days ago and the results came back tonight, which were positive," he wrote in the caption. "I've been self quarantined since the test, thank goodness. COVID-19 must be taken w the highest of seriousness. I know it's a #1 priority for our nation's health experts, & we must get more testing ASAP."

"I'm OK, I feel fine. I don't feel any of the symptoms," he said in the video. "But I can't stress enough practicing social distancing and really keeping yourself away from a large group of people and just really washing your hands and help protect yourself. And help protect others by protecting yourself."

In a follow-up tweet, Smart strongly encouraged the "younger generation" to "self distance." He added, "This is not a joke. Not doing so is selfish. Together we can beat this, but we must beat it together by being apart for a short while."

Paulo Dybala and his girlfriend both tested positive for the coronavirus

Paulo Dybala, the star attacker for Italy's Juventus Football Club, announced that he and his girlfriend, singer Oriana Sabatini, tested positive for the coronavirus in a Twitter post.

"Hi everyone, I just wanted just to inform you that we have received the results for the COVID-19 test and both Oriana [Sabatini] and I have tested positive. Luckily we are in perfect condition. Thanks for your messages and greetings to all," he wrote.

Juventus confirmed Dybala's diagnosis in a statement posted to the club's official website. "Paulo Dybala has undergone medical tests that revealed a positive result for Coronavirus-COVID19. He has been in voluntary home isolation since Wednesday 11 March," the statement read (via CBS Sports). "He will continue to be monitored, following the usual regime. He is well and is asymptomatic." According to ESPN, Dybala becomes the third Juventus player to test positive for the coronavirus following Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani. Sabatini also posted an Instagram video to discuss their diagnosis.

Cameron van der Burgh: 'By far the worst virus I have ever endured'

Retired South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, the 2012 Olympic 100-meter breaststroke champion, announced he tested positive for coronavirus during a series of tweets on March 22, 2020. "I have been struggling with Covid-19 for 14 days today. By far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs(no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at-risk demographic)," he wrote.

He then went on to explain his symptoms and how his body is reacting. "Although the most severe symptoms (extreme fever) have eased, I am still struggling with serious fatigue and a residual cough that I can't shake. Any physical activity like walking leaves me exhausted for hours," he tweeted.

The former medalist then explained how the coronavirus would affect any athlete training for the 2020 Olympic Games. "The loss in body conditioning has been immense and can only feel for the athletes that contract Covid-19 as they will suffer a great loss of current conditioning through the last training cycle. Infection closer to competition being the worst," he wrote.

Jason Collins tested positive for COVID-19 after a trip to New York

Former NBA player Jason Collins announced in a series of tweets on March 24, 2020 that he tested positive for COVID-19. "I believe I got it while on a trip to NYC at the beginning of the month for the Brooklyn Nets Pride night game. I had my first symptoms on Wed Mar 11," he wrote. "Terrible headache. A few days later I had a fever and then the cough."

Collins stated that he experienced "tightness in [his] chest," so he went to the ER, where the coronavirus test was administred. "I'm home now resting but still experiencing some tightness and might go back to the hospital later today," he wrote, adding, "On Saturday my lungs were clear, which obviously is good."

The 13-year NBA veteran concluded by urging his followers to practice social distancing, adding, "Thank you to every single health care worker out there that are our true heroes on the frontline. Please let's try to flatten the curve & not overwhelm our health care system."

Doris Burke's profession convinced her to get tested for coronavirus

Former collegiate basketball star and current ESPN NBA analyst Doris Burke revealed that she tested positive for the coronavirus. During a March 27, 2020, appearance on ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski podcast, The Woj Pod, Burke said that she received her results over a week after getting tested on March 17. 

Confessing that she felt guilty about getting tested while the United States was suffering from a shortage of tests, Burke revealed that the fear of potentially exposing her family won out. Ultimately, she thought that, due to the number of NBA players contracting the virus, she may have been exposed to COVID-19, as well.

"I started to believe, even though my symptoms did not seem to line up with the typical symptoms, I believed, given the nature of my profession, the number of people I encounter, that I did, in fact, have exposure to the virus," Burke said (via ESPN). Admitting that she had a pounding headache and couldn't get out of bed for longer than five minutes at the time, Burke added, "And looking back, those were my symptoms. And we've heard so much about shortness of breath, fever, tightness in your chest, chills, body aches, etc. ... Really, my primary symptom throughout this was this extraordinary fatigue." Luckily symptom-free at the time of this interview, Burke said, "I'm so incredibly thankful to be feeling well."

Tennis champion Patrick McEnroe: 'We gotta do our part'

Former tennis champion and current ESPN broadcaster Patrick McEnroe revealed on social media that he tested positive for coronavirus. In a Twitter video filmed from his basement while under quarantine, the former French Open champion said he was tested at a drive-through site in Westchester County, N.Y. after experiencing "some minor symptoms" for 11 days.

"That's the bad news," he said in the video. "The good news is I feel fine. My symptoms have passed. I feel really a hundred percent. My wife Melissa is doing an unbelievable job taking care of the house, taking care of the kids and myself. We've been on full quarantine, our entire household, for well over two weeks now. I encourage everyone to do the same. Let's get this thing. Let's nail this thing."

The 53-year younger brother of tennis great John McEnroe then then urged others to do their part to stop the spread of the virus. "I'm an example of someone that's been able to fight through it and I'm doing absolutely fine," he continued. "Thoughts and prayers to all those people who are struggling with this. We gotta do our part. We gotta listen. And we gotta stay home Love you everybody out there and thanks for the support."

Jim Edmonds fought to get tested for COVID-19

St. Louis Cardinals great and four-time All-Star Jim Edmonds confirmed that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The 49-year-old World Series champion, who played 17 seasons before his retirement in 2010, shared the news in an Instagram story.

"I appreciate everyone who has said well wishes and wished me the best," said Edmonds in the video (via ET). "I did test positive for pneumonia and I did get a test back positive for the virus. I am completely symptom-free now and doing really well, so I must have had it for a while."

Edmonds said he had difficulty obtaining a test, but he claims he "forced" his care providers to take him to the emergency room where he was eventually tested. "So, don't take it lightly, take care of yourselves," he continued. "There's no medicine, there's no nothing, but rest, and that's all I've been doing."

Von Miller: 'I'm in good spirits. I'm still Von.'

Denver Broncos Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller tested positive for the coronavirus, he told 9News on April 16, 2020. "It's true," he said by phone. "I've just been here in the crib, and I started to get a little cough. You know, I have asthma, and I started getting a little cough a couple days ago. My girlfriend ... she told me when I was asleep, she said my cough, it didn't sound normal."

A week after being a unanimous choice for the NFL All-Decade Team, Miller tried to control his cough with a nebulizer, but that didn't help, and his assistant urged him to go to the doctor and get tested. "It's crazy,” he continued. "I have to be quarantined here at the house. There's not really any medicine or anything like that. Dr. [Steve] Geraghty told me if my breathing changed ... honestly, I'm still new to this. This is like an hour [since learning I tested positive]. I'm not sure what's going on, but I tell you what, I'm in good spirits. I'm still Von. I'm not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that."

The next day Miller appeared on NBC's Today to say he was "shocked" by his diagnosis. "I've been here in Denver for about four weeks now. ... I've probably left the house four times. With all those four times, I never got out of the car," he said.

Brian Allen became the first NFL player to contract COVID-19

Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen tested positive for the coronavirus, he told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer on April 15, 2020. "The first thing he said was, 'I woke up three weeks ago, I couldn't smell anything. I lost all sense of smell to the point where I had smelling salts here, I cracked them open, put them to my nose and nothing happened,'" Glazer said (via Fox Sports: NFL). "Then he lost his sense of taste. He said, 'All I could feel was texture in my mouth — literally was the only sense I had.'"

Allen reportedly told Fox News that his condition felt "different from any other flu he's had," and that his "symptoms included headaches, a sore throat, and fatigue."

"I talked to him yesterday. I'm really glad to hear he's feeling good, he's healthy and he's on the road to recovery," Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay told "I think we all understand that the severity of what this has meant for some people, fortunately for Brian, he's on the road to recovery. I think he did a great job of letting us know right away so we could be timely in our response and making sure that we didn't expose anybody else to that."

Lyman Good tested positive for coronavirus while training for a fight

UFC welterweight Lyman Good revealed that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus while training to face Belal Muhammad in UFC 249, sharing the news with ESPN's Ariel Helwani during a Zoom interview on April 20, 2020. It was first reported that the April 18 match was canceled due to Good suffering an undisclosed injury. That injury turned out to be COVID-19.

The 34-year-old fighter told Helwani that he took precautions against the virus by allowing "only certain people in the gym." However, after struggling one day during training in late March, he notified his management team and coaches, got tested for the safety of those around him, and withdrew from the fight. While Good, whose girlfriend also tested positive, wasn't experiencing the worst symptoms, he had suffered from extreme fatigue, "weakness," and "labored breathing." Thankfully, Good added, "I'm a lot better now. I'm 100 percent recovered."

Despite his diagnosis, Good defended the UFC's decision to continue scheduling fights after every other major sport had suspended its seasons. Saying that he was "grateful" the organization tried to keep giving fighters a platform to compete and make money to provide for their families, he added, "There's a lot of negative, a lot fear, and a lot of bad circulating around in the world and in the media. Maybe this would be a good distraction."

As Helwani reported on Twitter, "[Good] is the first active UFC fighter to publicly reveal he had Coronavirus."

COVID-19 swept through Tony Boselli's family

Former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle and five-time Pro Bowler, Tony Boselli, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in late March 2020 and quickly took a turn for the worse. After he began experiencing difficulty breathing, the 47-year-old athlete visited the Mayo Clinic expecting IV fluids and medicine, but ended up on a ventilator in the ICU for five days. On April 2, the 6'7", 324-pounder shared his experience with ESPN.

"It was kind of fuzzy, but I remember [the pulmonologist] saying, 'If we don't get your oxygen stabilized, we're going to have to go to the next level,'" Boselli, whose wife, Angie, was also diagnosed, explained. "I remember laying there thinking, 'What do you mean, if this doesn't work?' He says, 'We don't know what direction this is going to go.' I don't know if I ever was like I thought I was going to die, but I remember having the conversation with myself: I don't want to die here."

According to the New York Post, Boselli's son, Florida State offensive lineman Andrew Boselli, also tested positive for COVID-19. The 22-year-old admitted he thought the virus wouldn't affect him since he read reports that it was only a danger to the elderly. "The last few weeks, though, have shown just how wrong I was, and just how seriously we all need to treat this outbreak," he wrote on his team's website on April 10. "I promise you, even if you're young and healthy, you do not want this virus."